Temporary Ruling Makes Additional Foreign Workers Available

May 26, 2021

Industries seeking additional workers, including the cleaning and hospitality industries, may find relief through a joint temporary final rule published by the U.S. Departments of Labor and Homeland Security making an additional 22,000 H-2B temporary, nonagricultural guest worker visas available for fiscal year 2021.

The ruling is intended to assist employers who are likely to suffer irreparable harm without these additional workers. Of the supplemental visas, 6,000 are reserved for nationals from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala.

“The temporary final rule is designed to prevent permanent and severe financial loss to U.S. employers by supplementing the congressionally mandated H-2B visa cap, takes into account feedback from American businesses, employer organizations, and labor representatives, and is one piece of the administration’s broader comprehensive framework for managing migration throughout North and Central America,” said U S Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS ) Acting Director Tracy L. Renaud, adding the rules requires that employers take additional steps to recruit U.S. workers.

The ruling provides for “portability,” which enables H-2B workers to change employers more quickly if they encounter unsafe or abusive working conditions.

Starting May 25, eligible employers who have already completed a test of the U.S. labor market to verify that there are no U.S. workers who are willing, qualified and able to perform the seasonal nonagricultural work can file a  Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker to seek additional H-2B workers. They must submit an attestation with their petition to demonstrate their business is likely to suffer irreparable harm without a supplemental workforce. Additional details on eligibility and filing requirements are available in the temporary final rule and the Temporary Increase in H-2B Nonimmigrant Visas for FY 2021 webpage.

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